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Constructing A Successful Client-Agency Relationship: Strategies For Effective Digital Marketing Communication


Achieve Greater Success and Profit By Cultivating a Healthy and Productive Client-Agency Connection.

Creating and nurturing strong, mutually beneficial relationships helps clients (brands, companies) and marketing agencies be more profitable. Strong client-agency relationships are more likely to produce successful marketing projects and campaigns and added value in other business areas. What do these relationships look like and how do you build them? 

Like any relationship between two or more parties, the client-agency relationship requires effective communication, collaboration, honesty, trust and mutual respect, among other vital traits. Both parties have equal responsibility in this relationship. 

Some client-agency partners manage to build and maintain a successful rapport that can last a couple of decades, but others can’t make it past a couple of years. As in any other relationship, client-agency relationships go through ups and downs. Those who make a real effort to cultivate a solid foundation know how to get through these challenging times and achieve desired outcomes. 

Why Is the Client-Agency Relationship Important? 

Many industry experts agree that the quality of the client-agency relationship is the single biggest predictor of success in marketing. 

This relationship determines how the two parties communicate and work together and how they overcome challenges. A good relationship positions both teams to do their best work and enjoy themselves in the process. 

10 Tips to Improve Your Client-Agency Relationship 

So how do you build a healthy relationship between a client company and a marketing agency? 

Here are 10 ways or ground rules to follow to create and maintain strong relationships and attract the best possible outcomes for both sides. 

1. Communicate Clearly

Effective communication is the most critical factor in the client-agency relationship. A lack of communication opens the door to misunderstandings, confusion, chaos and poor decisions that contaminate the relationship and erode trust. 

At the most basic level, there should be a communication structure that both parties adhere to and a single principal point of contact on each side. For both, it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. 

2. Define Your Expectations

Defining expectations early in the process is essential to ensure a smooth client-agency relationship. 

3. Learn Their Business

While the agency must understand the client’s business in order to execute effective marketing campaigns, the client, too, can benefit from understanding the agency’s business.

4. Set Realistic Timelines and Stick to Them

Clients and agencies share the responsibility of setting up realistic timelines and deadlines and complying with them. Plans don’t always work out as planned–technology breaks down, people get sick or go on vacation, pandemics happen. 

5. Assign the Right Person for the Job

The wrong account or project manager can severely hinder a client-agency relationship. Therefore, it is imperative to hire or assign people who have the right hard and soft skills to perform these jobs.

Account managers need to be client smart. Project managers need to know how to deal with outsourced partners such as marketing agencies. And the two must be able to work together openly and respectfully.

6. Listen Carefully and Be Responsive

Both agency and client need to actively listen to each other and be proactive in responding to any communication, actions or events that transpire between their teams. 

7. Don’t Ask for Too Much

This is a particularly difficult area. Clients and agencies often ask too much from each other. Chances are team members on both sides are spread very thin, so keep that in mind. By asking too much, you run the risk of pushing the other party to tune you out.

8. Give Honest Feedback

Without feedback neither the agency nor the client can communicate effectively and meet each other’s expectations. You need honest feedback to make the kind of decisions that lead to successful campaigns and other desired outcomes.

9. Develop a Collaborative Partnership 

When agencies and clients forge healthy relationships, the quality of the work produced and the results achieved are significantly better. A collaborative relationship means working together on projects instead of one side telling the other what to do. The focus is on collaboration, not on transaction. 

10. Focus on Building Trust

For clients, working with an agency requires relinquishing some control. Many clients find that incredibly difficult. But to get the most out of the client-agency relationship and achieve results, clients have trust the agencies, and agencies must prove themselves trustworthy. 

Closing Thoughts 

Strong client-agency relationships don’t happen automatically nor overnight. But they’re worth pursuing because they produce more successful projects, deliver better outcomes, and make work more fun for everyone involved. In the end, a good client-agency relationship can translate into more sales, higher profit and growth for both parties. 

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